Saudi Cabinet condemns terror attacks in Egypt, Tunis

The Cabinet was informed about the results of the crown prince’s visits to South Korea and Japan. (SPA)
Updated 03 July 2019

Saudi Cabinet condemns terror attacks in Egypt, Tunis

  • Pledges to continue support for Palestinian rights

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday condemned the terrorist attack on Abha International Airport carried out by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in which nine civilians, including an Indian citizen, were injured.
The Cabinet stressed the assertion of the Arab coalition that the terrorists behind this attack will be held accountable in accordance with the international laws and conventions.
Following the session chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, Dr. Issam bin Saad bin Saeed, state minister, Cabinet member and acting minister of media, said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency that he wished the injured people a speedy recovery.
The Cabinet reasserted that the Kingdom will keep on supporting Palestinian refugees, and emphasized the contents of the Kingdom’s speech at the conference for supporting the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in New York and its reiteration to the Palestinians’ inalienable right of return.
The Cabinet also strongly condemned the terrorist attack in El-Arish, north Sinai in Egypt, and the two bomb blasts in Tunis. The ministers also condemned the unfortunate events that took place at the Bahrain Embassy in Baghdad at the hands of protesters and praised the Iraqi government’s stance and the measures it took the ensure the safety of the Bahraini envoy.
Bin Saeed said the Cabinet was informed about the results of the Kingdom’s participation in the G20 Summit held in the Japanese city of Osaka. The Kingdom’s delegation was headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who met – on the sidelines of the summit – the leaders and heads of participating states who reviewed cooperation with Kingdom and discussed ways to bolster mutual cooperation.
The Cabinet was also informed about the results of the crown prince’s visits to South Korea and Japan.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Cabinet also strongly condemned the terrorist attack in El-Arish, north Sinai in Egypt and the two bomb blasts in Tunis.

• The ministers also condemned the unfortunate events that took place at the Bahrain Embassy in Baghdad.

• It was also informed about the results of the crown prince’s visits to South Korea and Japan.

The Cabinet accepted donations of SR10 million ($2.7 million), SR5 million and SR2 million from King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi interior minister respectively for the second phase of “Fourijat” service, as a way to provide constant attention to reuniting prisoners and their families and provide their needs.
The Cabinet confirmed that the Kingdom’s membership of the Group of States of the Joint Ministerial Statement on Electronic Commerce of the World Trade Organization reflects the leadership’s interest in e-commerce to achieve the goals of Vision 2030.
The Cabinet decided to delegate the energy minister — or a person appointed by the latter — to hold talks with Ukraine on a renewable energy and alternative fuels project.
The Cabinet also decided to delegate the foreign minister — or a person appointed by the latter — to discuss with the Albanian side an MoU about the reciprocal exemption of short-term visa for diplomatic and special passport holders for Saudis only, and diplomatic and service passport holders for Albanians only.
The Cabinet also decided that the Council for Family Affairs (women’s committee) should represent the Kingdom in the women’s development council at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.


Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

Awareness campaigns highlight the importance of trees. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 February 2020

Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

  • The fine for cutting down a tree can reach SR5,000 ($1,333) while the fine for transporting logs is SR10,000

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year through destruction and tree logging.
Trees help stop desertification because they are a stabilizer of soil. In the Arabian Peninsula, land threatened by desertification ranges from 70 to 90 percent. A national afforestation campaign was launched in Saudi Arabia last October, and there is a national plan set to run until this April.
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that although natural vegetation across the country had suffered in the past four decades, modern technologies such as satellites and drones could be used to track down individuals or businesses harming the Kingdom’s vegetation.
“Harsh penalties should be imposed on violators such as the seizure or confiscation of transport and hefty fines,” Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sugair, chairman of the Environmental Green Horizons Society, told Arab News.
These were long-term solutions and they needed coordination with authorities to ensure warehouses and markets did not stock logs or firewood, he said. Another solution was sourcing an alternative product from overseas that was of high quality and at a reasonable price. A third was to provide support to firewood and coal suppliers.
“The general public needs to be more aware of the importance of trees and should have a strong sense of responsibility toward these trees,” Al-Sugair added.
“They should also stop buying firewood in the market. We can also encourage investment in wood production through agricultural holdings as well as implement huge afforestation projects and irrigate them from treated sewage water.”
The fine for cutting down a tree can reach SR5,000 ($1,333) while the fine for transporting logs is SR10,000. These fines could not be implemented as they should be because there were no available staff to monitor and catch violators and, to make matters worse said Al-Sugair, there was a weak level of coordination between authorities.
Most of the Kingdom’s regions have suffered in some way from tree felling, and some places no longer have trees. These violations are rampant in the south and Madinah regions, as well as in Hail and Al-Nafud Desert.
Riyadh is the most active and the largest market for firewood. Many people in Al-Qassim use firewood as do restaurants in some parts of Saudi Arabia.
Omar Al-Nefaee, a microbiology professor at the Ministry of Education in Taif, said the reason behind the widescale destruction of the environment could be attributed to a supply shortage of imported firewood.
“Tree logging causes an environmental disequilibrium,” he told Arab News. “The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water has launched an initiative raising public awareness on the issue and is asking people not to use local firewood. Several awareness campaigns have been launched for the same purpose to educate people about the importance of using imported wood instead of the local wood in order to protect the Kingdom’s vegetation.”
Official reports warn that the Kingdom has lost 80 percent of its vegetation and that the drop will have a detrimental effect on its biodiversity, as well as causing great damage to the environment.
The general public should use other heating options during the winter and stop using firewood, Al-Nefaee said.
Some local studies have called for farms that can produce wood from plants that do not consume too much water and do not affect vegetation, while at the same time reducing the pressure on other regions in the Kingdom that are rich in animal resources.
Falih Aljuhani, who runs a business that imports wood from Georgia, encouraged Saudi firms to import wood from the Balkans because it was a competitive market and the trees had low carbon percentages.